5 Undeniable Reasons to Join the Secret Princi-Pal Gift Exchange

gift exchange image for twitter and facebook

It’s a secret principal gift exchange! What started as a small event between 22 people has grown into a national secret gift exchange. School leaders from all over the United States and Canada exchanged gifts in celebration of principals everywhere.

Since this event has grown to over 400 school leaders, my online principal BFF Amber Teamann decided to put together a blog post on how this gift exchange works. Even with hundreds of players, this is the easiest secret pal event ever. You can even use this with your staff!

Before I share the undeniable reasons you should join, let me be frank. The success of this exchange lies in YOUR hands. We can lead principals to wine but we can’t make them drink. Ok, well, if it’s the wine… Anyway, you know what I mean. You will get out of this what you are willing to put into it.

Let’s get started!!!

Reason #1: All the cool kids are doing it.

Usually we don’t get caught up in FOMO. However, this is super fun! Is there anything better than gifts? (FYI – My “Language of Appreciation at work is…..GIFTS! Buy me all the things.)

Last year this event received national attention from Elfster. Elfster showcased our exchange in their blog. Obviously, you want to be a part of this epic journey this summer.

picture of elfster app

Reason #2: Learn a super cool gift exchange app.

I mentioned Elfster. You are not going to believe how easy it is to be a part of this secret pal gift exchange. Our past members have gone on to use Elfster for personal and/or family gift exchanges. Have you ever wondered how to do your annual Christmas gift exchange online? Elfster is the app that’s going to solve all your secret pal problems for life.

anne frank quote with rose and present

Reason #3: Make new friends

Principaling is hard. We could all use more principal friends. What better way to make principal friends than to buy each other presents?

More than likely you’ve never met or heard of the person you will be paired with. Your secret princi-pal is going to fill out an online wishlist and profile so you can get to know them. By joining this event you will be forever connected to a supportive and fun group of school leaders.

gift quote with balloons.

Reason #4: You GET presents!!!

Like I mentioned above, my language of appreciation is receiving gifts. For those of you who know me or heard me talk about the survey my staff completed, you know how much I. LOVE. GIFTS. Maybe this is why I started this project. I need gifts.

gift quote

Reason #5: It is far better to give than it is to receive.

Finally, as much as I love to receive gifts, I enjoy giving even more. GETTING gifts makes me feel good. GIVING gifts not only makes ME feel good but the person receiving the gift feels great. Win, win!!!

So how does this work? Below are the rules.

picture of gift with rules and dates


  • Principals, Assistant Principals, Central Office preferred. Other people may sign up. However, we try to stick to school leaders.
  • VOLUNTARY – This is a fun end of the year celebration for principals. Boy, do we need an end of the year celebration this year! Once you sign up you are agreeing to purchase a gift for your secret principal. However, we cannot force anyone to do anything.
  • If you are not able to send a gift, you forget, or you change your mind and do not want to play. YOU need to reach out to your person and let them know.
  • The spending limit is $35 + shipping. You are welcome to spend more or just a bit less. Try to keep in this range. If this is too much please do not sign up.
  • Download the app “Elfster” or sign up online. All sign-ups will happen digitally!
  • Exact exchange title is “2020 Secret Princi-PAL Gift Exchange”
  • The spending limit is $35 + shipping. You are welcome to spend more or just a bit less. Try to keep in this range.
  • Create your wishlist! The app Elfster allows you to create a wishlist that your secret principal can see and order from. We recommend you choose about 20 items they can pick from.
  • The past two years most principals have ordered directly from the Elfster app. It orders straight from Amazon. You do not necessarily have to go out to shop and mail your gift. However, I think sending a fancy package is fun and I usually do it that way:)
  • Mailing gift cards are also an option. 
  • This year there is an option to choose if you are willing to ship outside the United States. Unfortunately, I still do not know how this worked last year.

Important Dates…

  • June 19th is the LAST DAY to enroll. This is a hard stop! The app automatically draws names the next day and we will not add any more participants.
  • July 17th is when your secret principal should receive his/her gift.  In other words, you have about a month after you receive our principal’s name to send your gift.

Hopefully, I have covered all the rules. Use the comments section of this blog to post questions and/or suggestions so everyone can benefit.

join now gift exchange image with flowers

Check out last year’s gifts…..